Where is English the Official Language ?

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Where is English the "Official Language"?

I figure:

Canada
US
England
Ireland
Scotland
Australia
New Zealand

I am not sure about:

Wales
India
Philippines
Guam
South Africa
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I don't think english the the official language of the US. I think its the de facto "official" language
 
  • #3
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  • #4
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English is not legally recognized as the official language of the United States.
Amazing! Neither is it in the UK or Australia!
 
  • #5
Ryan_m_b
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Amazing! Neither is it in the UK or Australia!
That's because in the UK we have no "official" language. Though it is funny that the Commonwealth has English as it's official language.
 
  • #6
Office_Shredder
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It makes sense... you only need an official language when it could be called into question what language people should be speaking. It's like saying the official sky color is blue, if everybody speaks English you don't really need the legislature to point that out. Now that Spanish is becoming more prevalent in America we're starting to see people pushing for an official language here.

In Wales all road signs are required to be posted in Welsh, so I doubt that English is the official language in any such capacity
 
  • #7
Ryan_m_b
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Now that Spanish is becoming more prevalent in America we're starting to see people pushing for an official language here.

In Wales all road signs are required to be posted in Welsh, so I doubt that English is the official language in any such capacity
The Welsh rules are more to do with national pride than because many people speak Welsh. Indeed only about 20% of Welsh people can speak it with just over half of them doing it daily http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_language.

It's true though that Welsh is the official language of Wales, again national pride rather than because of the pervasiveness of the language.
 
  • #8
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It makes sense... you only need an official language when it could be called into question what language people should be speaking. It's like saying the official sky color is blue, if everybody speaks English you don't really need the legislature to point that out. Now that Spanish is becoming more prevalent in America we're starting to see people pushing for an official language here.
Yes, this makes perfect sense. You don't need to make anything "official" in the absence of a viable alternative.
 
  • #9
AlephZero
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In Wales all road signs are required to be posted in Welsh, so I doubt that English is the official language in any such capacity
There is a law that says Welsh and English must be treated equally so far as the public sector is concerned. All government documents, websites, road signs, etc, are bilingual.

This sometimes has unintended consequences, like http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7702913.stm

BTW it's obvious to Brits that English is not the official language of the US. They can't spell it, they can't pronounce it, and even the grammar has "gotten" mangled :devil:
 
  • #10
Ryan_m_b
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This sometimes has unintended consequences, like http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7702913.stm
Haha I do love that story. The best example of a similar thing is;
BBC said:
In the same year, a sign for pedestrians in Cardiff reading 'Look Right' in English read 'Look Left' in Welsh.
 
  • #11
D H
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"No! Not that left. Your OTHER left!"
 
  • #12
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BTW it's obvious to Brits that English is not the official language of the US. They can't spell it, they can't pronounce it, and even the grammar has "gotten" mangled :devil:
Hello. We're talking about language.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnHv7NGWb0k
 
  • #13
Borek
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"No! Not that left. Your OTHER left!"
That's completely different problem.

- Turn left.
- My left, or your left?
 
  • #14
D H
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Hello. We're talking about language.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnHv7NGWb0k
From that video it's obvious that you Brits and We Americans do have one thing in common: Too much laugh track.
 
  • #15
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From that video it's obvious that you Brits and We Americans do have one thing in common: Too much laugh track.
There's a laugh track? I guess I was laughing too loud to hear it.
 
  • #16
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English isn't the official language of Canada, we have two: English and French. All students in Canada have to learn French from grade 1 to grade 9.
 
  • #17
cepheid
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Do you mean in which countries is it the *sole* official language, or just in which countries is it one of the official languages?

Canada has two official languages: English and French.

I know that English is an official language of India. I am not sure if it is the only one.
 
  • #18
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There is a law that says Welsh and English must be treated equally so far as the public sector is concerned. All government documents, websites, road signs, etc, are bilingual.

This sometimes has unintended consequences, like http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7702913.stm

BTW it's obvious to Brits that English is not the official language of the US. They can't spell it, they can't pronounce it, and even the grammar has "gotten" mangled :devil:
:rofl:
 
  • #19
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Do you mean in which countries is it the *sole* official language, or just in which countries is it one of the official languages?

Canada has two official languages: English and French.

I know that English is an official language of India. I am not sure if it is the only one.
Having two official languages kind of defeats the purpose of an official language IMO.
 
  • #20
cepheid
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Having two official languages kind of defeats the purpose of an official language IMO.
Bilingualism is a touchy subject here. I agree that it certainly increases costs/inefficiency etc. to require the state to put out all materials in two different languages. But it is a historically significant political development and an important compromise.
 
  • #21
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Bilingualism is a touchy subject here. I agree that it certainly increases costs/inefficiency etc. to require the state to put out all materials in two different languages. But it is a historically significant political development and an important compromise.
Canada "doesn't" really have French as official language outside Quebec. You wouldn't see a stop sign in both French and English. Many Canadians can barely speak French.

I agree that it's a delicate subject and has historical significance.

India seems to have a better languages structure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_with_official_status_in_India). There are two official language but each State has its own official language. In Canada, it would make more sense if French was official at provincial level.

I wouldn't be surprised if in a century Canada gets something like India knowing that it's a multicultural nation.
 
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  • #22
Evo
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Unfortuantely the US spends tons of money to do things in both English and Spanish, signs, websites, phonecalls. I've always been of the opinion that if you move to a country you need to learn to speak the common language. maybe the US does need to make English the official language. Growing up in Houston, TX, I was forced to be bi-lingual. Since the Mexicans refused to speak Mexican to customers unless they got paid extra, I was often referred to Mexican speaking customers. Amazing that after leaving Texas over 30 years ago, I've lost most of the Mexican I knew.
 
  • #23
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The 'legal' (de jure) official languages of New Zealand are Te Reo Maori, and New Zealand Sign Language. Wikipedia points out to me that "English is the dominant and a de facto official language"
 
  • #24
Ivan Seeking
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BTW it's obvious to Brits that English is not the official language of the US. They can't spell it, they can't pronounce it, and even the grammar has "gotten" mangled :devil:
Nah, we just corrected the flaws and added enhancements.
 
  • #25
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Growing up in Houston, TX, I was forced to be bi-lingual. Since the Mexicans refused to speak Mexican to customers unless they got paid extra, I was often referred to Mexican speaking customers. Amazing that after leaving Texas over 30 years ago, I've lost most of the Mexican I knew.
You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't make her stop referring to Spanish as "Mexican". Hehe.
 

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